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News

Miller 'certainly not bitter' about not being named South Africa's T20I captain

Senior batter vows to support Markram in the role; wants to make an impact on and off the field with the youngsters in the squad

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
20-Mar-2023
David Miller had missed the first two ODIs against West Indies  •  AFP/Getty Images

David Miller had missed the first two ODIs against West Indies  •  AFP/Getty Images

David Miller has pledged to throw his support behind South Africa's new T20I captain Aiden Markram even as he acknowledged he hoped he would be considered for the job.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested," Miller said, ahead of South Africa's second ODI against West Indies in Potchefstroom. "I've really enjoyed the journey I've had with the Proteas and the experience that I've got. The fact that I am not captain, I am most certainly not bitter or anything towards anyone. I want to put my best foot forward for the team and support Aiden in that role."
Miller has been playing international cricket for 12 years and previously captained South Africa in matches against Pakistan, England and Ireland. He has also led Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings), Barbados Royals and Paarl Royals in T20 leagues and was considered one of the frontline candidates for the job Temba Bavuma stood down from when he was appointed Test captain.
But Markram, a former South African Under-19 captain who won the age-group World Cup, and current captain of the SA20 champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape, was preferred. There were no announcements regarding a vice-captain.
"He is an extremely great leader and he has got a lot of maturity and a calmness about him," Miller said of Markram. "And that just moves throughout the change room. It's a great option and with Rob (Walter) coming in as the new (white-ball) coach, they are going to form a great combination. I am there to support the guys in whatever they need from me."
Crucially, Miller's experience in the middle-order will come in handy. South Africa were without him for their ODI series opener against West Indies (as he was returning from the PSL) and fell 48 runs short chasing 336 on Saturday. They also had three batting debutants Ryan Rickelton, Tony de Zorzi and Tristan Stubbs - none of whom were able to stay at the crease long enough to help Bavuma who was playing an incredible innings.
Miller is eager to help the new players make better decisions on the field. "It's great to see the young guys coming in and getting a taste of international cricket," he said. "It's really healthy with the standard that we've got and it's a matter of time before all these new guys come in and start performing at their best. I just want to make the impact that I can on and off the field; for the new guys in the squad to feed off my experience and learning. I am always learning myself; learning from them as well. The young guys have some different thought processes when they bat and bowl, so for me it's just to boost the guys on the field, recognise moments in the game that I have seen more often than they have, keep that communication throughout the game and keep the guys nice and calm."
"They (Gujarat Titans) were really upset. It's always a big thing playing in Ahmedabad. I am a bit disappointed to be missing that but to put on the green and gold has always been a huge privilege and honour and we have got some work to do in those two games against Netherlands..."
David Miller will be arriving late to the IPL 2023
South Africa can level the series with a win in Potchefstroom on Tuesday they move on to the three T20Is that round out West Indies' visit.
Then, the last and biggest test of the summer looms. South Africa face Netherlands - who booted them out of the T20 World Cup in November - in two must-win World Cup Super League ODIs. As reported by ESPNcricinfo earlier in the month. Cricket South Africa have held all their international stars back from the IPL's opening three days in order to compete in these matches. They will only fly out on the evening of April 2, the day of the last match against Netherlands.
That means Miller will miss Gujarat Titans' opening match against Chennai Super Kings but will arrive in India in time for the second match against Delhi Capitals on April 4 - though his availability is likely to depend on any travel fatigue.
"They (Titans) were really upset. It's always a big thing playing in Ahmedabad. I am a bit disappointed to be missing that but to put on the green and gold has always been a huge privilege and honour and we have got some work to do in those two games against Netherlands so I think having a strong team - the best squad that we can pick - is definitely the way forward. I will be missing one game so whether I'm somewhat disappointed or not, the process has taken place."
Unlike last year, where CSA gave the players the choice of going to the IPL or staying home for Tests against Bangladesh, this year, through the memorandum of understanding with the South African Cricketers' Association which gives them the right to keep players available for the national team, the board made the decision for them.
"We weren't given an option in any way," Miller said. "Be that as it may, we've got our best squad on the park and we've got a lot of work to do in those two games so it will be nice to be able to focus on that."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent for South Africa and women's cricket